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Every first Friday of the month, Honolulu’s Chinatown comes to life with art, music, food and nightlife festivities. It’s part of a growing revitalization in this historic Oahu district that’s caught on with a stylish crowd of visitors and locals looking forward to something different from the typical Waikiki nightlife.
Fashionistas and art roam the streets of Chinatown every First Friday of the month, which is tomorrow.
“First Fridays,” as it’s called, has a little bit of everything. The buzz of people wakes up the usually quiet Chinatown streets, as local artists and artisans share their works through paintings, sculptures and cultural exhibits. Most galleries keep their doors open well beyond twilight hours and welcome visitors to peruse their exhibits, some offering light refreshments and live music as well.
It’s usually most packed with people on Nuuanu Avenue and Bethel Street, near the historic Hawaii Theatre. Food vendors set up tented booths along the sidewalks and bring flavors of Greece, Mexico and India to the islands. Dim sum eateries get pretty crowded, too, so head to the food places early.
Dim sum is a must if you’re in Chinatown for First Fridays.
As the night goes on, however, people start trickling into the hidden nooks and alleyways, where some of the best bars and eateries can be found. Somehow, we always end up at The Dragon Upstairs, which is a tiny space above a restaurant and usually has a band playing. We love it there! Like most places on First Fridays, the Dragon gets really crowded toward the later hours of the night. Because of this and the event’s growing popularity, organizers created a Second Saturday in Chinatown, which is much mellower than First Friday. More to come on that event!
FIRST FRIDAY HONOLULU CHINATOWN • Nuuanu Ave. and Bethel St. 96813 • www.firstfridayhawaii.com • Parking on street or in garages